Heavy, full-bodied swirls of guitars envelop the listener amid the album’s slow-burning opener “Rip”, which transitions to a sea of jangles and bells, roaring with bravado, on “Wave”. Cinematic bass lines, atmospheric echoes, and distant vocals amplify both “Brightest Star” and “Slack”, transcending straightforward lyrics of lament and love into an array of reverb-drenched guitars and tight percussion from drummer Dustin Gaudet.
It’s obvious to draw similarities between Ringo Deathstarr and the noise crescendos of The Jesus and Mary Chain, or the seductive lyricism of Slowdive. In particular “Burn” delves into gritty noise, kindled by the vocals of female-male duo Alex Gehring and Elliot Frazier, uncannily emulating My Bloody Valentine’s Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields. At least on a subconscious level, the Irish legends’ seminal “Feed Me With Your Kiss” resonated enough with Ringo Deathstarr to become the very apparent roots of “Waste” on Mauve. The sole flaw with Mauve — though, also one of its strengths — lies in the band’s attempt to recreate the rambling, atmospheric tension of those pivotal U.K. bands.
Opener and lead single 'Rip' takes its cue from Adam And The Ants' 'Feed Me To The Lions' (seriously), Gehring's distinctive yet seductive vocal taking it into more pastoral waters. It's the brutally eloquent 'Burn' and Wipers-esque 'Drain' that ably demonstrate Ringo Deathstarr's new found fervour. Neither hangs around long enough to outstay their welcome. Both aim for and penetrate the jugular to maximum effect. Similarly the Frazier-led 'Slack' could best be described as punk rock played through distortion pedals, yet fragile on the inside summed up best by its "Do you feel what I feel?" refrain.
The dreamy 'Brightest Star' is Mauve's curveball. Processed beats collide with floaty atmospherics and Gehring's choral coos. Clocking in at just 13 seconds short of six minutes, it's a radiant interval from the full-on excess of the rest of Mauve. While the eastern-tinged 'Drag' treads a similar woozy path, the potent mix of 'Fifteen' and 'Waste' continue Mauve's fast and furious vein, each kicking and screaming where previously its creators would have laid back waiting in a state of relaxation.
"Sometimes I know right from wrong" declares Frazier on the Dinosaur Jr meets The Wedding Present 'Do You Wanna', while the intuitive 'Please Don't Kill Yourself' is as heartfelt a plea as its title suggests. Of course there is a possibility that at 13 tracks, Mauve is maybe just a little too long to be digested in one sitting. However, with nothing masking itself as filler here, it would be difficult to trim anything off without Mauve losing any of its impetus or impact.
Indeed there's very little negative to say about Mauve, other than Ringo Deathstarr may have created a monster - in a good way of course - for themselves. The challenging part is where they go next.